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911 Tapes Released in Martin Shooting in Florida

Zimerman’s Call.

Listening to his call, he had no reason to view Martin as suspicious. He said he was walking down the street looking at houses. You know, kind of like what I do when I walk around my neighborhood. What else is there to look at? You’re either looking at houses, looking up or down the street, or looking at the sky.

As soon as he noticed Zimmerman is following him, the kid took off running. If some strange guy was stalking you, who wouldn’t? Zimmerman got out of his car and pursued. 911 told him they didn’t need him to pursue the kid. Sounds like after he hung up, he did anyway.

Calls 1-3.

None of these calls, save one, reveal any more detail than someone was screaming, then there was a gunshot, then no screaming, and a dead black male. In one call, you can hear the screaming. The final caller revealed she saw someone in a white t-shirt on top of someone, but could not identify the race of the individual because it was dark.

Calls 4-6.

Nothing useful here. It almost got useful on the 4th call, but the dispatcher didn’t press for any further information.

Call 7.

Totally useless. I’ll do you a favor and tell you not to even listen to this one.

The 911 tapes don’t really clear up anything. In cases like this, it’s going to be a matter of whether Zimmerman’s statement to police is contradicted by any witness statements. I’d really like to add I’m glad I don’t live in this neighborhood. If I hear someone outside my home screaming for help, I’m going outside to see what’s going on. If it’s dark, I grab a flashlight. At the least I’m going to be a witness, and be able to give police useful information. This is an example of the complete extinction of civic virtue in our society. Because no one was willing to even look when someone was screaming for help, if Zimmerman is a murderer, he’s likely going to get away with it.

UPDATE Here’s a Google Earth view of the neighborhood this took place in. I’m guessing, based on descriptions given to 911, the scuffle and eventual shooting happened on along that lake. You can see the path between the townhouses that Zimmerman likely used to pursue Martin.

48 Responses to “911 Tapes Released in Martin Shooting in Florida”

  1. Bitter says:

    Listening to these tapes is really disturbing. I loved hearing how many people were just so upset that something bad was happening in their neighborhood, yet acknowledged that they were unwilling to do anything at all – even call 911 – when they heard a man screaming for help and the sounds of a physical fight. They were perfectly willing to ignore it and do nothing, and they act as though they cared once they heard a shot.

    These people are the reason why women are commonly told not to scream for help while being raped, but to yell that there is a fire instead.

    I’ve lived in a crappy neighborhood before, and I did call the cops when suspicious sounds were coming from the area. Whether it was presumed to be a domestic fight or something worse, I wasn’t afraid to call 911 and make sure that authorities knew whatever I knew. I even followed up once when I knew officers were on the scene and screamed, “Stop! Police!” right underneath my bedroom window. I wanted to know what kinds of crime they were investigating & having to chase my neighbors down for that evening.

    I give people a lot of leeway when it comes to responding to an emergency situation. I get that not everyone responds rationally. But don’t act all upset and just soooooo sympathetic for someone when you blatantly ignored either them or someone else in the struggle screaming and begging for help. I understand if you didn’t feel safe going out and getting involved, but call the cops. Even if it was just neighborhood teens fighting, someone as an authority figure to set them straight would go a long way toward discouraging violent behavior.

    As the case actually unfolded, the fight may well have ended and both would walk away with their lives if someone had just come out and yelled, “Hey, what’s going on?”

  2. Typo Police says:

    need to him=need him to

  3. Brad says:

    About this incident I have heard much critical commentary and concern from the pro-gun bloggers I frequent.

    What do you bet the anti-gunners start making false claims that pro-gunners are cheerleading Zimmerman and what Zimmerman did, to bolster accusations that pro-gunners are a bunch of racist bullies?

  4. JR says:

    Yeah, seriously, this “neighborhood watch” is looking more like a one-man army while the rest cower in their houses and avert their eyes. With neighbors like that, I’d just say “frack ya’ll, I’m only keeping watch over my premises and the visible street/back alley from the highest point in my home.”

  5. Guav says:

    I hope his self defense plea falls on deaf ears. From what I can tell, the kid was probably scared of the dude stalking/chasing him and considered himself to be engaged in self defense when he was hitting Zimmerman. What an all-around crappy situation.

    • Sebastian says:

      The question is going to be whether they have evidence to overcome the self-defense claim. If nothing in witness statements contradicts witness statements, then it’s Zimmerman’s word over a dead man’s. In that case, the state will not be able to disprove Zimmerman’s self-defense claim beyond a reasonable doubt.

      • Actually, I disagree. I believe if I were on a jury, that I would view this case as at least a manslaughter case.

        Here is my view, there is evidence that proves that Zimmerman pursued Martin. We know from the police calls that “no crime was in progress”.

        So what you have is a presumed innocent party, being chased, defending themselves in self-defense (Martin) against an unknown asailant (Zimmerman).

        The fact is, that we already know Zimmerman pursued Martin. That puts him in the position of assailant, and makes Martin the one acting in self-defense.

        That’s my personal feeling. I tend to also apply first cause. Who’s actions precipitated the event. And Zimmerman is the first cause of this event. So I view the blame lying with him.

        • lisa says:

          I totally agree, They should charge Zimmerman with Murder!! He was gun hole, and ready to shoot. If he feared Martin than he should of called 911, and stayed in his vehicle, he could of followed him to see where he was headed, if he thought he was up to no good. But in reading all the articles, I feel like he followed him because he was wearing a hoodie, from what I read he was talking on his cell phone. Whens the last time someones seen a burgular talking on the phone!! This is ridiculious, and I pray Florida shows some Justice to Martins family, in this case!!!!! My prayers go out to his family!!!

    • Sebastian says:

      I still think this case needs to go to a fairly constituted (i.e. not all white) Grand Jury, for the sake of all parties involved.

      • Divemedic says:

        I don’t understand this constant need for people to convene a jury of the peers of people who are not the person being accused of a crime. Where is it written that you are entitled to a jury of the peers of your alleged victim?

        We weren’t there, and I don’t think that it is fair to judge a person, based on scant evidence that proves nothing. It is our own prejudices and opinions that we would make a determination here. There is not one iota of evidence to show what happened that night, yet many people are ready to scream “racism” and “guilty” without a single fact to back it up, only assumptions and suppositions.

        It is my opinion that many progunners are willing to throw this man under the bus in order to appease the perceived notion that this incident will backfire against concealed carry, unless the proCCW people distance themselves from this event.

        • Sebastian says:

          Part of the reason for the existence of government is to convince the people they don’t need to seek their own justice. An all white jury, in this case, would be just as reprehensible as an all black jury. Clearly since Martin was staying with family in this neighborhood, and Zimmerman is Hispanic, it’s reasonably to suggest the jury should be representative of the neighborhood.

          Perception is important in cases like this. Humans are not rational creatures. If I were in Zimmerman’s shoes, I would want it go to a Grand Jury… because the do otherwise would be to drag this on.

        • Sebastian says:

          And I would say Zimmerman threw himself under the bus based on the facts we already know. I am still willing to accept self-defense, but Zimmerman created the circumstances that lead to this shooting. That fact is not in dispute.

        • Eric says:

          “ota of evidence”? On the 911 tapes, it sounds like Martin was yelling for help before the gun shot. It’s hard to imagine the shot was self defense if you’re defending yourself from a person yelling for help.

          • Divemedic says:

            Witnesses state that it was Zimmerman yelling for help, because he was on his back with Martin sitting on his chest beating him. The physical evidence supports this (Zimmerman was injured on his the front and back of his head, as Martin was pounding his head on the pavement)

            The real question here, and one that no one can answer, it whether or not Zimmerman initiated the conflict. In the absence of any proof that he is lying, it is Zimmerman’s statement that must be taken at face value.

            • Sebastian says:

              The real issue in this case is lack of witnesses. Without witnesses, you’re correct. It comes down to disproving Zimmerman’s self-defense claim, which if it is consistent with the evidence, is going to stand.

            • I think the proof is in Zimmerman’s own call to the police. He was told to not act. The fact that he was not in the same location as the call, and was now in pursuit and conflict with Martin is evidence that Martin pursued Zimmerman and that Martin’s actions was that of self-defense against Zimmerman.

              • 1freeman1951 says:

                Actually the police said they didn’t “NEED” him to follow the kid not to “STOP” following him. BIG difference in meanings. At 17yo & 6ft this is not a kid, baby faced maybe without a current (as in last week) pic, but he is a young adult, the pics of him playing football in school are VERY misleading on this point. Zimmermans’ 911 tape indicates he was doing nothing more than keeping tabs on the location of a suspicious person, what sounds like running is nothing more than wind noise (remember is was inclement weather. His voice & breathing were not labored as they would be for anyone running especially if they were out of shape as Zimmerman appears to be. There is absolutely no evidence to indicate who initiated the contact between the two. Even Martins’ girlfriends statement about the initial contact does not establish this point even disregarding her statement as being hearsay (no collaboration, such as audio tape. In fact, according to the girlfriends’ statement of the call, Martin is the one who initiated conversation between the two, which would be a very strong indicator that it was he and not Zimmerman that initiated the confrontation.

            • Diane says:

              I think Zimmerman lied when he told the cops his record was totally clean and it turned out it wasn’t. Based on that, I don’t think Zimmerman can be trusted to tell the truth.

              • Jake says:

                Actually (if I’m remembering right and the “assault on a cop” charge was the only one he’s had), his one criminal charge was expunged, meaning that legally it doesn’t exist.* When a charge is expunged, you’re told you don’t have to tell anyone about it, including the police. It’s not supposed to exist. And nothing else that has come up in his history has resulted in charges at all, so none of that counts when answering questions about his record.

                So he was telling the truth, on that point at least.

                * IANAL, FL law may treat expungements differently, this is not legal advice, etc., etc.

                • Sebastian says:

                  I haven’t heard of any expunged charge. I heard he was arrested in 2005 for assaulting a police officer, and charges dropped. But I have not heard anything surrounding those circumstances.

                • Jake says:

                  From one of the stories you linked to earlier:

                  Yet public records showed that Zimmerman was charged with battery against on officer and resisting arrest in 2005, a charge which was later expunged.

                  It’s not actually clear if both charges were expunged, or just one, but I would suspect it was both. Regardless, without a conviction, he’s under no obligation I know of to disclose them.

                • Divemedic says:

                  Under the doctrine of innocent until proven guilty, and arrest with no charges IS a clean record. I was arrested over 20 years ago for a number of firearms related charges, and all were dropped when it was shown that they had the wrong man- a case of mistaken identity.
                  I have a clean record.

        • Jake says:

          I don’t understand this constant need for people to convene a jury of the peers of people who are not the person being accused of a crime. Where is it written that you are entitled to a jury of the peers of your alleged victim?

          Blame the blatantly rascially based verdicts of the civil rights era for that – all white juries refusing to convict white men for killing black men despite absolute, clear, and incontrovertable evidence of guilt, for no reason other than the skin colours of the victim and killer.

          FWIW, the Constitution does not guarantee a jury of your “peers”, it guarantees an impartial jury. The concept of a jury of your peers came from the nobility. Nobles would not be tried by peasants, but by their “peers” – other nobles. America got rid of that distinction, and the concept of being tried by “peers” was dropped with the assumption that all American citizens were equal.

        • Guav says:

          We’re not throwing him under the bus to appease anyone or anything, we’re throwing him under the bus because, as it currently appears based on what we know so far, we think he acted incorrectly and his actions cost the life of a young man who was not doing anything wrong.

          Zimmerman was told not to pursue Martin, and should not have pursued Martin. Had he not done so, Martin would be alive and Zimmerman wouldn’t be facing charges.

  6. Sage Thrasher says:

    Unfortunately, from what I see in the news, Al Sharpton is descending on the scene, and not like a bee to honey. If anything, I expect this will make it harder for the local authorities to do the right thing since now no matter what they do it will look like they are bowing to political pressure.

    This is not going to look good for concealed carry, especially with Zimmerman’s apparent history of violence, i.e. the expunged assault charge.

    • Sebastian says:

      I said originally when this happened that all sense and reason would head out the window because of the racial implications. I have, so far, not been proved wrong.

  7. Guest says:

    “Zimmerman created the circumstances that lead to this shooting. That fact is not in dispute.”

    You made that one up.

    • Sebastian says:

      I don’t think it’s disputed he pursued the kid and confronted him, when pretty much any sound advice was to wait for the police to arrive.

  8. David says:

    I am impressed that Zimmerman was able to ‘catch’ ‘the kid’.

    Sorry for the quotes on ‘catch’ and ‘the kid’, but those are two presumptions that need some reasonable explanation.

    See, when I was a ‘kid’ and took off through the bushes, ain’t no old (thirty plus being ‘old’ then) guy ever gonna ‘catch’ me. Not that I would ever volunteer personal experience as such during jury selection either.

  9. Guest says:

    S-“Zimmerman created the circumstances that lead to this shooting. That fact is not in dispute.”

    G-You made that one up.
    *****
    S-“I don’t think it’s disputed he pursued the kid and confronted him, when pretty much any sound advice was to wait for the police to arrive.”

    Boy, are you dodging now.

    BTW, I think on a previous post you admitted that Zimmerman had done nothing illegal. If you’ve changed your mind that persons engaged in lawful activities should take beatings, then be more direct instead of all this victim blaming.
    I could understand it if this site was one of those blogs you constantly mock, that play fast and loose with facts in order to further an agenda, but I thought that this site was different…

    • Sebastian says:

      Guest,

      Over the years I have developed a great admiration for you as someone who has been involved in this issue closely for some time. Where do you think I am going wrong? I am not being sarcastic… if there is a an inconsistency in my thinking, I’d like to understand.

    • Sebastian says:

      I should clarify that I am inviting you to abuse my thinking in as much detail as you think necessary, and I will not take offense.

  10. Guest says:

    I’m not going to publicly second-guess your psyche.
    I only ask that people not assume facts not in evidence (newspaper accounts in this case) or draw unsupported conclusions based on those non-facts.
    Here is a link to an article that lets us know a little more about the public-spirited gun-owner victim who successfully defended himself:
    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/17/v-fullstory/2700249/shooter-of-trayvon-martin-a-habitual.html#storylink=cpy

  11. Ian Argent says:

    I’ve been in the jury box on an assault with a deadly weapon case (a knifing), and recall a decent amount of the jury instructions. They might get am indictment out of a grand jury, since the standards of evidence are lower, but absent a witness, there is not going to be a chance of “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” that the shooter was not defending himself in a place he had a right to be. See previous posts and comments about FL law, but it appears there’s a really high bar to vault there.

    That having been said, there is no good in this situation for anyone. Nor is it particularly special for involving a firearm, since the exact same result could have occurred with a pocketknife (shot was at point-blank by shooter’s testimony and a knife is more dangerous at contact range that a single shot from a firearm, after all).

  12. Jake says:

    Well, according to the latest witness, it looks like Zimmerman did at least pursue Martin, and put him in fear.

    In the final moments of his life, Trayvon Martin was being hounded by a strange man on a cellphone who ran after him, cornered him and confronted him, according to the teenage girl whose call logs show she was on the phone with the 17-year-old boy in the moments before neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot him dead.
    […]
    “He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man,” Martin’s friend said. “I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run but he said he was not going to run.”

    Eventually he would run, said the girl, thinking that he’d managed to escape. But suddenly the strange man was back, cornering Martin.

    “Trayvon said, ‘What, are you following me for,’ and the man said, ‘What are you doing here.’ Next thing I hear is somebody pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the head set just fell. I called him again and he didn’t answer the phone.”

    Assuming she’s telling the truth about what she heard,* it looks like confirmation that Zimmerman prompted the encounter, and that Martin likely believed he was in danger.

    And it looks like the feds are getting involved, now, too.

    * At this point, there is so much anger, outrage, bias, and speculation-presented-as-fact over this case that I’m viewing every witness statement with suspicion, no matter who it benefits.

  13. Robert Gilio says:

    I am Pro-SDA Conceal & Carry, but I am no supporter of what Zimmerman did… What he did is the equilvalent of Stalking then Murder Plain and Simple!! I firmly believe if this had happened in Oklahoma Zimmerman would have been Arrested. It is clearly conveyed to us in SDA Class that we cannot pursue an individual, even if they did pose a threat to us at some point, that is for Law Enforcement to do. If we do pursue others they have they Right to Defend theirself because we are a threat to them.

    While Citizens should have the Right To Protect themselves with Conceal & Carry, what we do not need is to allow Zimmerman to walk away from this and therefore make it look like it is alright for People, Conceal & Carry or Not, to arm themselves and Police the Neighborhood… It is apparent Zimmerman posed a threat to the Neighborhood when he refused to obey the 911 Operator and drop his pursuit. This Man belongs in Jail!!! So does anybody else who abuses the Right to Conceal & Carry in this Manner!!!

    • Alpheus says:

      I’m pro- Conceal & Carry too (and am more than willing to tolerate Open Carriers), but before Zimmermann should be arrested, the police need to find evidence to justify arresting him.; and before we send Zimmermann to jail, we should have a trial.

      If Jake is correct–that a witness indicated that Martin felt threatened–then I support putting him in jail, after a jury confirms it. But given how racially charged this entire situation is, I’m also with Jake, in that such a witness had better be very well vetted.

      As it so happens, I’m also a Right to Jury Trial bigot (to the point that I oppose plea bargaining, because it neuters our right to trial by jury).

      • Robert Gilio says:

        I sure didn’t hear Zimmerman screaming on the 911 call for “Help”… That sure the heck wasn’t Martin’s Gun that did the firing either because he did not have one… Nothing I have ever read on any States Conceal & Carry Laws give John Doe Citizen the Right to Play Self Appointed Neighborhood Cop & Pursue anyone. It is unfortunate for everyone else that some of those who get Conceal & Carry Permits think it does give them this right. Would you want Zimmerman running around your Neighborhood Armed and Evidently Dangerous? He might decide you look suspicous… Need I say more?

        • Alpheus says:

          At the same time, if I had to defend my own life from someone, and there were certain details that made the circumstances of that shooting look suspicious, you bet your booties that I would like my case presented before a jury, before I were either put in prison for life, or executed, or even simply killed by a mob that decided they didn’t like me.

          And since I want that courtesy for myself, I extend it to Zimmerman.

          While I have been watching over these blog posts about the incident (I have not listened to the 911 calls, personally), I have had mixed feelings about it. I have not said that Zimmerman should be let free, nor have I said that he should be put in prison for what he did. So far, as far as I could see, there’s evidence that Zimmerman perhaps should at least be tried, but it’s fuzzy enough that I wouldn’t be surprised if he were let go. And while that may make me feel uncomfortable, one thing is certain: liberty and freedom from fear are not compatible. I do not want to be put in prison for what I might have done, nor what I might do in the future. And if we ever get to the point where we do such things, we’ll be well down the road to tyranny.

          Again, this is why I don’t scream that Zimmerman should be put in jail, but that instead, we should let the Judicial Process work through the situation.

          Need I say more?

        • Alpheus says:

          Oh, and I would add, I had a neighbor in a previous neighborhood who allegedly ran a meth lab in his house. He was in the process of going through a criminal trial for that very accusation; as time went on, his family would start staying at his house…and oddly enough, break-ins and other suspicious activities started to rise in the neighborhood.

          I wouldn’t be surprised if at least some of these people were running around the neighborhood Armed and Evidently Dangerous–and they were probably doing so illegally, as well. And these people would more likely shoot me for even less of a standard that looking suspicious!

          Yet, even for these people, I would only want to see them searched if there were probable cause, after the police obtained a warrant; and if they shot someone, I would sure as heck hope that they get a trial to determine whether the shooting was self defense or murder!

          The least we can do is to extend this courtesy to a mall ninja, whose heart was at least somewhat sort-of maybe in the right place–that of stopping crime–but seems stupid enough that he didn’t do enough to prevent the shooting of someone else.

          Perhaps it was self defense. Even righteous self defense can haunt an individual for the rest of his life. But if he gets off, and it wasn’t self defense–or if it were, but he could have done more to prevent it–the knowledge that he killed someone, but didn’t have to, is going to be with him for the rest of his life.

          That’s a fate that no jury is going to be able to nullify, and it’s a horror I wish only on those who premeditatively decided to hurt or kill innocent life.

  14. RimfireShooter says:

    This looks like a gated community. Was Martin inside trespassing or outside walking along on the street? I can’t seem to find verification for either.

    I don’t know about anyone else here but regardless of the circumstances leading up to the actual confrontation, if someone was holding me down beating me up, they too would eat a bullet if i could get to my heater. Not saying Zimmerman was right, but substitute ‘Zimmerman’ for ‘Police Officer’ chasing a suspect and his actions don’t seem so unjustified.

    Even in Florida, Zimmerman is most likely facing no more than a manslaughter charge. And that’s IF he gets convicted.

  15. John Law says:

    Being a veteran and a retired police officer from a major metropolitan police department I’ve a few observations viewing this case, as so many others, from afar.

    So much of what’s gone wrong in this case is easily attributed toward Sanford PD’s obvious failed and flawed investigation.

    Red flags in any police investigation are:

    Failure to properly interview witnesses near the crime scene.

    Failure to secure any and all evidence of a crime scene.

    Failure to remain objective while conducting a crime scene investigation.

    The Sanford PD’s failure on each of the above points contributed to a lack of trust on behalf of those the department is sworn to protect and serve.

    Cops from every police department across the land can share stories of having responded to calls whereby ‘wannabe’ cops who’ve gotten in over their head by acting out of the bounds of their authority.

    The dynamics of this case go far beyond the missteps of the Sanford PD.

    But in the end, and with the ‘stand your ground law’ aside, an inherent respect for the sanctity of life should ALWAYS be the aim of responsible gun ownership.

  16. guav@me.com says:

    Stocking Store, when you convert your comment into English with an online translator, it turns it into nonsense.

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